Thursday, May 6, 2021

‘We are down but not out’ – Santos

Following the dismal performance of Uniao Flamengo Santos in the on going first round of the Premier League, the team has reacted quickly by appointing a new coach.

The team has appointed Zimbabwean, Gisho Mtini, who had a stint at top Zimbabwean sides, Caps United and Shooting Stars.

Santos are currently rooted at the bottom of the league despite an impressive run last season, which saw them finishing third in the Premier League and even going all the way to the finals of Coca-Cola Cup for the time in their history.

The team’s Managing Director, Mokganedi ‘Mike’ Molefhe, stressed that, by appointing a coach, he hopes things would improve at the club.

“We did not have a coach for some time after the departure of Christopher Chibuye. The arrival of the coach has definitely brought back confidence to the players and definitely we will bounce back,” said Molefhe.

Molefhe stressed that his team might be down but it is far from being out because there is still time left. He attributed the team’s lackluster performance to a variety of things, saying their successful Coca-Cola campaign last season hit them hard.
“When we were busy beating the teams, I warned the coach to be successful and even gave him the example of BMC the previous season. BMC won the Coca-Cola Cup and survived the chop on the last game of the league. The same situation is now affecting us because players have not fully recovered and we want to avoid it at all costs,” he said.

Molefhe stressed that his daily involvement with the Premier League as the chairman has also had an impact on his team. He says he does not regularly run the team as he wished to.

“Since assuming the office, we have had challenges including the issue of sponsorship. That definitely took my time and I had little time to run Santos. We were always in endless meetings and my absence affected several aspects of the team. But now, since things are on the right track to where we want to take our football, I will have ample time with the team,” he said.

Santos, known as Botswana’s development academy, has produced many players spread across many teams.

Lack of adequate finances, Molefhe added, is also the main challenge facing Santos. He said if it were not for that, his team would have made major strides. He lamented that they can only take care of players to a certain level but will have to let them go if they wish for greener pastures that his team cannot provide.

“If this team had resources, we could be way ahead by now. We produce so many players who end up being snatched by other sides. I am hopeful that this season we will keep most of our players because they have contracts with us,” he said.

Molefhe would not reveal the players they will be releasing or signing, but said the team would make a statement soon.

Reports reaching Sunday Standard, however, are that one of the players released is Zimbabwean international, Ronald ‘Ghidhiza’ Sibanda. Sibanda was an exceptional player who played overseas but his discipline is reported to have been a problem.

Some of the enterprising players who came through Santos include the likes of Dirang Moloi, Jerome Ramatlhakwane, Patrice Motsepe, Mpho Mabogo, Molatedi Mabina, Jackie Mothatego and others.

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